Tips for Easy Holiday Travel with Your Dog
Posted by Megan Schneider on 7th November 2016
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say,
and to make it as such, we need to make sure our holiday season goes smoothly.
Oftentimes, holiday plans include travel, and holiday travel includes packing
our furry friends. At Thanksgiving, 36% of people travel to a destination other
than their home, and 95.9% travel by car. At Christmas, 42.5% of people travel,
with 93.9% traveling by car. To ensure you’re not stressing out last minute,
start out this holiday season with a travel plan that is easy for both you and
your pup. Read the tips below to find out what you can do to make this holiday
season the easiest one yet!
Make sure your dog is
road trip-ready. This sounds silly, right? You’re thinking, “Okay, but he
can’t talk to me, so how would I know…” However, most people traveling this
holiday season will be doing a decent amount of driving, and, like humans,
animals also get easily stressed out. Before you think about taking your dog in
the car for an hours-long road trip, try taking him for a short drive. If he
seems anxious or stressed out by the car, make plans to leave him home with a
trusted sitter. It will not only make things easier for you, but your pup will
greatly appreciate it. If you do this, just make sure you leave emergency
contact information for you and a vet, as well as detailed instructions on how
to care for your furry friend.
information on your pet at all times. Pets can get scared easily in a new
environment, and, while hopefully your dog won’t run off, if he does, you need
to make sure that whoever finds him will be able to find you. No matter your
method of travel, make sure your pup is wearing his collar at all times. Always
put ID tags on your dog collar – they are worth the investment. Additionally,
you should consider microchipping your pet – while all pets should wear a
collar with contact information, a microchip is the only form of ID for your
pet that is permanent and cannot be lost. Just be sure to keep your contact
information up to date with the microchip company.
Safety first –
especially in the car. While it is tempting to let your dog roam around in
the car, especially if he is generally well-behaved, one of the best things you
can do for your dog while traveling is restrain him. According to a study done
by Kurgo, over 83% of respondents said they know it would be a safer option to
restrain their dog in the car – however, only 16% of respondents actually do. A dog car harness is a simple way to restrain your dog in the car, and some, like
Kurgo’s Enhanced Strength Tru-Fit Smart Harness and Impact Dog Harness, come
crash-tested. If you want to allow your dog to have some movement, you can also
buy other types of dog car restraints, such as a seatbelt tether or zip line.
Make your pup
comfortable. Make sure you pack the essentials for your dog on a long car
trip. Firstly, you will need water and food travel bowls for your dog, and also his
typical brand of food. Be sure to bring treats for the ride, too – it would be
mean to bring your own and not your pup’s! Secondly, a dog travel bed will keep
him comfortable and may make him feel less anxious. Finally, if you are
traveling somewhere cold, bring a dog jacket. This will not only keep him
comfortable on the ride, but when you reach your destination, as well.
Avoid air travel if you can. The Humane Society of the United States recommends against air travel for pets unless absolutely necessary. Air travel can not only be very stressful for pets, but very dangerous, as well. It can cause oxygen deprivation and heat stroke, or, during the winter months, hypothermia. If you do need to bring your pup on a plane, make sure you double check all rules with the airline, and travel with him in the cabin whenever you can. This will be less anxiety-inducing and your dog will feel a higher level of comfort knowing you are right there. However, generally only small dogs are allowed in airplane cabins, so if your dog does not meet the size requirements, consider leaving him at a kennel or with a sitter.
Watch out for holiday
hazards. Once you have arrived at your destination, it may be tempting to
be lax with your dog (e.g. letting him run wild, feeding him leftovers).
However, there are a few holiday dangers of which you should be cautious. Don’t
let your dog run loose if he is unsupervised. This is especially important at
Christmastime – an energetic dog could knock into a Christmas tree and break
ornaments, or, worse, knock the tree onto himself. To avoid this, make sure the
Christmas tree is completely secured before letting your pup anywhere near it.
Another danger of Christmas trees is tinsel. Animals are attracted to shiny
objects, but tinsel, if ingested, can lead to vomiting and dehydration. The
same goes for poinsettias – these plants are poisonous to animals. In regards
to feeding your dog at the holidays, some human foods are best left off their
plates. Sweets are a big no, especially chocolate. Also, fatty and spicy foods
should be avoided if you want to avoid indigestion and a potential trip to the
vet. Read our article on What Thanksgiving Leftovers You Can Share with Your Dog for more tips!
Whatever you do, if you are traveling this holiday season,
the best thing you can do is make sure your dog is safe. Do the right thing for
him, whether that means leaving him home or taking him with you. And, if you do
decide to bring him along, read up on how you and your dog can be everyone’s
favorite duo with our article on Tips for Being a Considerate Houseguest!
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